Metaphors of Collaboration in Construction

Danilo De Oliveira Gomes, Patricia Tzortzopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Collaboration is essential for the success of Construction Projects. However, the concept of collaboration is unclear, and the term is often related to different meanings. Construction research defines collaboration in different ways, having been influenced by other research fields (e.g. Social Sciences and Philosophy). This paper discusses existing definitions of collaboration and how they relate to three perspectives on the nature of collaborative interactions, linked to organisational metaphors. The research was developed through a literature review, including the conceptual analysis of existing definitions of collaboration. The discussion proposes that metaphors not only describe collaboration ontologically, but also establish different appreciative systems by which individuals conceive and evaluate their collaborative performance. The aim of this discussion is to address the lack of consistency in defining collaboration in construction, embracing the coexistence of interpretations. This can help researchers and practitioners understand how to overcome misunderstandings and explore initiatives to improve collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-131
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Journal of Civil Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date6 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


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